116 Montecito Avenue

Oakland, CA 94610

Phone: 510.285.9600

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Welcome to Kindergarten at St. Paul's!

We are truly excited about the fun and learning that lies ahead each year for kindergarteners at St. Paul's. Kindergarten is a time filled with milestones and “ah ha” moments. We look forward to sharing in those moments with you and your child.
One of our primary goals each year is to create a safe and rich learning environment for all kindergarten students. Only when children feel safe and cared for can they do their best learning. Your child’s social and emotional growth are as important to us as his or her academic success and we will do our best to meet all of these needs.
Differentiating instruction so that all children have “just-right” work is an important aspect of our work. The children and teachers work as a team to create a classroom environment where children are comfortable recognizing their own needs as learners and where students understand, to the best of their ability, that people learn in different ways.
Another important component of a successful year is a partnership with parents. You are the experts on your child! We love working with parents as a team to ensure the best possible kindergarten experience for everyone. We encourage parents to contact us when they have questions and we frequently get in touch with parents as well.
We hope that if this sounds like a good fit for your child, you will consider coming to visit St. Paul's on a tour to see our kindergarten in person!

The Kindergarten Team
Kindergarten News
Cracking the Code of the Letter "J"
Kindergarteners become little sleuths when learning how to read.
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Comparing Apples to Apples in K
There's more to our ubiquitous fall fruit than meets the eye.
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'I Am the Solution': Kindergartners Speak Out Against Global Warming
Kindergartners in the K2 classroom took the fight against global warming to Chapel last week. In a video produced by Ms. Fairless, the kindergartners performed a rap describing melting ice caps. What can we do?

"I am the solution," the kindergartners say. "You're the solution. We're the solution."

Reduce carbon monoxide in the air by going green, in whatever way you can, the students urge. Walk, ride a bus, and recycle. Special thanks to Ms. Montgomery and Ms. Mandrapa and the kids of K2! Check, check, check out the video at
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Dear Pres. Obama: Kindergartners Write Their Hopes
"Dear President Obama," the letters from kindergarten students began. "Thank you for being my president and for doing such a good job! In the next four years, I hope that you will...."

In a week when newly inaugurated President Barack Obama was barraged with advice, St. Paul's kindergarten students added their opinions about what they'd like him to do in the next four years. On Wednesday morning, the kindergartners watched a video about Pres. Obama, discussed the role of the president, and then put marker to paper.

"The letters are actually going to the White House," observed kindergartner Maya. Indeed. Next week, kindergarten teacher Ms. Mandrapa will send the letters in a bundle to Pennsylvania Ave. (As a side note, St. Paul's Board Co-Chair Jim Dorskind served as Director of Presidential Correspondence under former Pres. Bill Clinton. "Every president particularly likes kids' mail," he said about the kindergartners' missives.)

When it comes to declaring one's hopes for the near future, where does one begin? Some of the students quickly and succinctly articulated their goals for the president — "End war" — while others took a moment to respond to the enormity of the question. Pres. Obama would be reading their words and ideas, so they wanted to get them right.
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A Letter from the Lower School
Interim Lower School Director Khadija Fredericks lists the highlist (so far) of the 2013-2014 School year.
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More News
Photos from a Day in the Life of Kindergarteners at St. Paul's
Our Kindergarten Teachers
Kanoelani Connor Joseph
Kindergarten Teacher
Kanoelani Connor Joseph joined St. Paul's as Kindergarten Teacher in 2001. She earned her B.A. in Psychology from the University of California at Santa Cruz and her Master's degree in Education from the University of San Francisco. Mrs. Joseph enjoys dancing hula, spending time with her daughter and son, and taking their dogs for walks at Point Isabel.

Maria Mandrapa
Kindergarten Teacher
Maria Mandrapa, Kindergarten Teacher, holds a California teaching credential, a Master of Arts in Teaching degree in Elementary Education from Pacific University in Eugene, Oregon, and a B.A. in Speech Communications from Portland State University. Ms. Mandrapa joined St. Paul’s as a guest teacher in 2010. She has served as guest teacher in kindergarten and long-term guest teacher in third and fifth grades at St. Paul's. She also has taught in grades four and five in Eugene schools.

Kay Bachman
Holy Names Intern

Andrew Scroggins
BATTI Intern - K1

Tracey Cosgrove
Lower School Librarian
Tracey Cosgrove joined St. Paul's as Lower School Librarian in 2004. Ms. Cosgrove received her B.A. in English Literature from Portland State University and her Master of Library and Information Studies degree from the University of California at Berkeley. She loves to look at books and read - surprise! She especially enjoys time with her family (which includes Liam ’11 and Emma ’14), visiting museums, and playing Frisbee with Percy, the dog, on the beach at the Albany Bulb.

Monica Haddad
Swim Instructor/P.E. Teacher
Monica Haddad joined St. Paul’s in 2005 as Swimming Teacher and Physical Education Teacher. A native of Brazil, Ms. Haddad holds a Bachelor of Physical Education degree from Federal University of Sao Carlos. She recently earned an American Swimming Coaches Association certificate for levels 1 and 2. She has been a swim teacher, coach, and summer program teacher in the East Bay. Ms. Haddad enjoys swimming (naturally), hiking, playing racquetball at the beach, and biking around the city.

Susan Fetcho
K-3 Performing Arts/Chapel
Susan English Fetcho is in her twenty-second year as K-3 Performing Arts Teacher teaching dance, drama, vocal music, K-2 Chorus, and Third Grade Choir. In addition, Ms. Fetcho teaches second grade art. She serves as Chapel Musician and Arts Coordinator, and has written many of the songs we use in Chapel. She holds a B.A. from Denver University and attended Kodaly Institute for Music Education at Holy Names College. Ms. Fetcho has extensive training in Modern Dance, Choreography, Mime and Mask Theater, and co-directed her own performance company for 14 years. She is co-owner of, an independent video production company, and loves shape-note singing, writing, travel, and her dogs, Bebop and Tango.
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Life in Kindergarten at St. Paul's
A Responsive Classroom Approach
The Responsive Classroom approach combines the teaching of social and academic skills. There are six components of this approach: morning meeting, rules and logical consequences, academic choice, guided discovery, assessment, and classroom organization. The underlying goal is to create a classroom community in which all students (and teachers) feel known, understood, and valued as contributing members. Many studies indicate that a commitment to true learning cannot be made by students who do not feel they ‘belong’ to a larger group.

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Morning Meeting
In kindergarten, each day starts with ‘Morning Meeting.’ The Morning Meeting is made up of four sequential components. The daily practice of these four components gradually weaves a web that binds a class together, with each member experiencing what it feels like to really ‘belong’ to a group. 

The components of the Morning Meeting are:

1) The Greeting: children greet each other by name, often including handshaking, clapping, singing, and other activities.

2) Sharing: students share some news of interest to the class and respond to each other, articulating their thoughts, feelings, and ideas in a positive manner.

3) Group Activity: the whole class does a short activity together, building class cohesion through active participation. This may be through songs or announcements.

4) News and Announcements: students develop language skills and learn about the events in the day ahead by reading and discussing a daily message posted for them. The message often has questions for the students to respond in writing.

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Thematic Teaching
We use a thematic instructional approach to teaching. Thematic teaching is a strategy to develop major concepts in the curriculum into themes that integrate reading, writing, other language skills and math. 


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Differentiated Instruction
Each year, students enter kindergarten with a wide variety of academic skills. Differentiating instruction, practice, and projects is a key component of the kindergarten program and allows us to accelerate learning by supporting students' strengths.

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